Power outages hit Asheville area April 1 as high wind warning in effect

Parts of Western North Carolina are under a high wind warning April 1 as power outages sweep across the region.

As of 9 p.m. April 1, more than 20,000 Duke Energy customers in WNC were without power, according to Duke Energy, as electrical service was coming back in some areas. Power had been restored to most Buncombe County customers by 7 p.m.. Less than an hour earlier, Duke had reported more than 25,000 Buncombe outages.

Reported outages as of 9 p.m., according to Duke energy:

  • Avery County: 909 customers were without power.

  • Cherokee: 452.

  • Graham: 1,171.

  • Haywood: 2,597.

  • Henderson, 3,151.

  • Jackson: 1,213.

  • Macon: 1,231.

  • Madison: 584.

  • McDowell: 1,111.

  • Mitchell: 5,484.

  • Swain: 1,388.

  • Transylvania: 2,130.

  • Yancey: 576.

In each case, Duke said it was assessing the damage and had no estimate for restoration. It said the wind gusts could prevent crews from raising the buckets on their trucks, slowing the progress of overhead repairs. Some repairs won't be possible until the winds die down later in the evening, Duke said.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning from 8 a.m.-midnight Saturday for areas above 3,500 feet in Buncombe, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Swain and Transylvania counties. There is a wind advisory for areas below 3,500 feet in the same area.

In higher elevations, sustained winds of 25 mph to 35 mph are expected, with gusts as high as 65 mph, according to the weather service. Gusts in the valleys could reach 55 mph, with sustained winds of 20-30 mph.

Damaging winds will blow down trees and power lines, and widespread power outages are expected, the NWS says. Ahead of the wind advisories, Duke Energy sent alerts to customers to be prepared for outages.

The weather service advises motorists to be cautious, as high profile vehicles could be less stable in the high wind, as well as for the possibility of downed trees on roadways.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: High wind warning in effect Saturday for Asheville area